China sees 26% fewer Japanese visitors in first half but North Korean arrivals up by 12%

JIJI

The number of Japanese who visited China in the first six months of 2013 fell 25.5 percent from a year before to 1,399,200, China’s National Tourism Administration has said.

The plunge was apparently due to worsening Sino-Japanese relations over the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by China, and air pollution in China.

Of the Japanese visitors, tourists accounted for 246,300, almost half the year-before level.

The overall number of visitors to China dropped 5.2 percent to 12.75 million in the six-month period.

But North Korean visitors to China increased 11.7 percent to 99,100, the highest since 2005 on a first-half basis.

Nearly half of the North Koreans came to China to work, mainly at factories and restaurants. These North Koreans are low-cost labor for China, while the data signal that North Korea continues to actively use its manpower to earn foreign currency.